Paper vs Plastic

So you’ve downloaded a budget spreadsheet, now what? Now you’re staring at a bunch of empty square cells that will eventually grant you some form of financial savvy.  Filling out the income section may cause disappointment and sighing but at least its simple (just add up your net pay for the month).  Filling out the expenses section is just as easy, add up: rent, utilities, debt repayments, car payments, car insurance, gas money, groceries, take-out, coffee cash, lap-dance fund, cable, internet, charity, cellphone, clothing, entertainment (sans lap-dances), miscellaneous expenses and savings (hopefully).  Oh and since it’s better to be precise, don’t forget to dig up all of the receipts which I am sure you have filed away neatly.

All of a sudden crap chores you’ve been putting off for weeks start to look attractive compared to budgeting.  Don’t worry, and don’t start grooming your damn cat just yet, there’s another way.  Credit cards!  Use credit cards for all of your purchases, that way you will always have a record of your transactions.  Open an online account associated with your credit card, at the end of each month simply copy and paste your expenses into the budget.

What is the price of this convenience? It could lead to massive amounts of debt, uncontrollable spending and paying high interest rates that a loan-shark would be embarrassed to charge you.  On the other hand, you can use credit cards as they are meant to be used, for convenience.  Pretend your credit card is like your debit card, do not spend money you don’t have.

Cash is hard to track, dangerous to carry in large amounts, has traces of cocaine on it and inevitably turns into clunky loose change.  Credit cards help build credit, offer rewards and take up less space in your wallet, leading to a slimmer waistline.  Here is a great website to compare Canadian credit cards: http://creditcards.redflagdeals.com/  Just remember to pick a card that has no annual fees.

Think of credit cards as a challenge to your moral fiber: you CAN spend beyond your means but you won’t.  Take off the training wheels and ride the big boy bike!  Trust yourself to responsibly handle credit cards.  Otherwise, you better stock up on more glass jars from IKEA.

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